Forbes magazine recently published its annual list of dollar billionaires in India, i.e., people with wealth of Rs. 6500 crores or more, in 2016. As per the Forbes list, the number of billionaires in India increased by 20 percent to 101 during the year. The country with the world’s largest number of poor now has the fourth largest number of billionaires. The wealth of these 101 biggest capitalists exceeds 300 billion dollars (around 20lakh crore rupees). If this wealth is distributed among 25 crore families, i.e., nearly the entire population of the country, each family will get Rs. 80,000. The wealth of these capitalists is enough to provide proper houses for 50 crore people. The wealth of these capitalists is also enough to provide piped drinking water and toilet to every family of the country.
When most workers and farmers have been struggling due to stagnant or falling real wages and income, the wealth of the biggest 25 capitalists of the country grew at three times higher rate than the GDP growth rate during 2016. That means a large part of the surplus value created by the toil of workers and farmers has been pocketed by these big capitalists.
Both UPA and NDA governments have pursued policies to keep enriching the super-rich by pauperising the poor. Fifty richest Indians have as much wealth as the bottom 70 percent Indians, according to a report by Oxfam. The share of wealth of the bottom 70 percent Indians has fallen to 7 percent by 2016 from 13.9 percent in 2000, as per a Credit Suisse Report. The Modi government has definitely ensured good times (achche din) for the biggest capitalists of the country by further increasing the exploitation of workers and peasants.